When I first became a Christian I had a great misunderstanding. I believed that short-term mission trips were just vacations for Christians. I pictured how my fellow church members would go to other countries to see the sights and live the life. I even thought my pastor would plan these trips to places that he wanted to go and see for his pleasure.
Man! Was I mistaken! I didn’t understand what role the short-term mission trip played in the life of the church. Short-term mission trips are vital for Christians and the Church.
Here are five reasons to get involved with short-term missions at your church.
Short-Term Missions Enlarges the Pastor’s Vision
Short-term mission trips allow me to unplug from the usual hustle of being around the church. They put me back into a focus on His mission. Furthermore, mission trips have provided some of the greatest mountaintop experiences with God that I have ever had.
Church revitalization is hard work and the process can be stressful for pastors. Short-term missions are essential for pastors in the midst of revitalization because they can help pastors be revived in their view of God’s greater Kingdom work.
Short-Term Missions Empowers the People
Short-term mission trips call people out of their comfort zones to serve the Lord. Each time I have taken my congregation on a mission trip, I have seen people use their gifts and step into the role that God has given them.
Church revitalization cannot be accomplished by the pastor alone. Pastors need their people to come alongside them to do the work of the ministry. Short-term missions have always accomplished this for our church. When we return home, those who went on the trip are revived and ready to do missions at home.
Short-Term Missions Engages the Church with God’s Greater Mission
Short-term mission trips help people get out of their bubble. One of the best things about church mission trips is that it gets people to look outside of their usual context. We can get so wrapped up in our schedule, our work, our hobbies, our church that we miss what God is doing to glorify himself among the nations.
Understanding that God desires to glorify himself is paramount for church revitalization. Church revitalization is not about updating a facility or improving a worship experience. Church revitalization is about bringing a church to a healthy place where it can glorify God in all the church says and does.
Short-Term Missions Encourages Momentum
Let’s face it. Churches love tradition. If a church has no tradition, it will make a tradition. In the process of church revitalization, churches will have to sacrifice tradition.
Short-term mission trips show people that ministry can be done another way. As people work with and see God move in other ministries, they realize that God is not tied to a tradition or single way of doing things.
Who knows? You may find yourself implementing methods in your church that your people learned on the mission field.
Short-Term Missions Exalts the Savior
Short-term mission trips exalt the Savior. God is glorified when his people get to the work of reaching the lost. When Christians are faithful in sharing the gospel of Jesus, God is exalted.
If church revitalization could be boiled down to a single purpose, it would be to exalt the Savior. When a church is improving ministries and sharing the gospel, the goal is to make much of Jesus. Mission trips help the people to see the end goal, that all Christians are here to exalt the Savior.
I used to think that short-term mission trips where extracurricular activities for the church. But the longer I have pastored, the more I realize that these trips are vital for Christians’ spiritual growth and the church’s health.
Pastor, evaluate the missions ministry of your church. Lead your people to get involved in reaching the nations for Christ. Missions with your people will benefit the Kingdom, grow your people, and bless your ministry.
I love to help pastors and churches in ministry. If you would like to read more about church revitalization or ministry in general, check out my website at AnthonySvajda.com
PhD Evangelism @swbts.